Tourism jobs and tourism-related tax revenue continue to post healthy gains through the first four months of 2016, with hospitality collections in 17 Arkansas cities up more than 5.5% compared to the same period in 2015.
Collection of the state’s 2% tourism tax continues on a record pace with collections up 4.59%, according to The Arkansas Tourism Ticker.
In 2015, the Arkansas Tourism Ticker reported a 7.41% increase in hospitality tax revenue among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the report, an 8.31% increase in collections of the state’s 2% tour- ism tax, and a 5.04% increase in Arkansas tourism industry jobs compared to 2014.
The Arkansas Tourism Ticker is managed by Talk Business & Politics, sponsored by the Arkansas Hospitality Association, and is published every two months, or six times a year. The ticker uses the following three measurements to review the health of the state’s tourism industry.
• Hospitality tax collections – prepared food tax and lodging tax – of 17 Arkansas cities (cities listed below along with collections for each city);
• Tourism sector employment numbers as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; and
• Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax.
Results for the January-April 2016 ticker report are:
• 5.57% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in January-April 2016 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker
• 4.59% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax during January-April 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.
• 5.55% increase
Increase in Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in January-April 2016 compared to the same period in 2015
‘PERFECT STORM OF GOOD THINGS’
Joe David Rice, tourism director for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, said an improved overall state economy is helping the tourism sector build on what was a stellar 2015.
“In many respects, Arkansas tourism is having the perfect storm of good things … with low fuel prices, and our unemployment rate is low and more people have jobs. … People are probably feeling pretty good about themselves and their future. I would also say our marketing is having an effect. We’re making sure we’re sending the right messages to the right people at the right time,” Rice told Talk Business & Politics.
Montine McNulty, executive director of the Arkansas Hospitality Association, said the 2016 numbers look even better when considering how well the industry performed in 2015.
“The January-April ticker numbers look great. This is another exciting ticker report on the tourism industry success in Arkansas. The comparable ticker numbers from last year were unbelievably good and these new numbers continue to show significant growth,” McNulty said.
Following are highlights from the January-April 2016 Arkansas Tourism Ticker.
• The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $14.325 million in January-April 2016, up 5.57% compared to the $13.569 million in the same period in 2015.
• Restaurant (prepared food tax) tax collections among the 17 cities totaled $10.763 million in January-April 2016, up 4.4% compared to the $10.309 million in the first four months of 2015. Hotel tax collections among the 17 cities totaled $3.561 million in January-April 2016, up 9.26% compared to the $3.259 million in the same period of 2015.
• Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax generated $4.443 million in January-April 2016, up 4.59% over the $4.247 million in the same period of 2015. Collections in January, February and April each set new monthly records for the tax.
• Monthly average jobs in January-April was 116,650, up 6.2% compared to the 109,850 during the same period of 2015. Travel and tourism sector employment ranged from 116,000 in January to a high of 117,300 in April. The April level, if not revised, set a new record for the sector.
Link here for the eight-page PDF that includes all data in the January-April 2016 Arkansas Tourism Ticker.